Mimosa – Albizia julibrissin INVASIVE PLANT

Over the years travelers have brought back interesting plants from all over the world. Some plants are brought back because of their beauty. Other plants are brought to the U.S. to serve a purpose like roadway stabilization as in the case of Kudzu. Often these exotic plants from overseas become problematic. They can take over the local habitat in ways that are not foreseen and gradually push out other plants that should be growing there. One such plant is the Mimosa tree. Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) is a small tree that originally came from China and was brought as a landscape tree.   The mimosa tree was brought to the U.S. in 1745 and is still sought after today because of the beautiful fuzzy pink flowers that emerge in the summer. The problem is that these trees produce seeds that get widely distributed and displace native plants. Invasive plants reduce the…

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Still Standing -My Bradford Pear Tree

For years now I have complained about our Bradford Pear Trees. In my mind they are one of the most problematic trees ever planted in the landscape. I despise Bradford Pear trees. There are so many reasons why Bradford pear trees are terrible for planting that I constantly wonder WHY were these things ever released to the public for purchase. I removed one of our Bradford pear trees a couple years ago but still have one remaining. This particular one seems to want to taunt me by standing tall against all manner of weather. In reality it really isn't some sort of super mutant Bradford pear tree. It's just in a lucky location where the wind it receives isn't usually as severe as other spots. My kids love this tree so until I have some damage that necessitates its removal I couldn't remove it without disappointing 3 out of 4…

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Greenworks Pro 80V 18 Inch Chainsaw Review

When you think about power tools do you think electric? Maybe it's time you should! Recently Greenworks sent me their battery powered Greeworks Pro 80Volt 18" Chainsaw to test. I had some doubts. Could a battery powered chainsaw actually cut through well enough to be a part of my arsenal of power tools? Would a charge last long enough to get through all the jobs I would need to attack in one day? Would the chainsaw be able to be recharged fast enough to get back to work when it did run out of energy? Those were the questions in my head and probably the questions anyone wanting to purchase a new powertool would ask. Before I tell you what I found out let's look at some of the advantages of a battery powered chainsaw. First, there is no gas needed. That saves from visiting the gas station and having…

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Redbuds in the Spring Garden (Cercis canadensis)

Spring in many ways is just like listening to your favorite song. The parts of the song that make it special to you are those that make you replay it countless times over and over again. The chorus of springtime is very much the same. Old favorites pop up again and again for us to enjoy. One of my favorite trees here in Tennessee is the redbud (Cercis canadensis). It's native to our area and blooms prolifically in the spring. There are areas of our state where the redbuds grow in such quantities that you feel like you are inside of a painting. Nature's artwork is hard to top! It's a special tree to others as well. Pollinators love the spring time blooms. Once they are in bloom it is hard to go near them without hearing a constant buzz from the bees as they gather pollen. Redbuds are actually…

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‘Brandywine’ Maple (Acer rubrum) is Great for Fall Color

A few years ago I found a maple tree on sale at one of our local nurseries.  It was only five dollars so I bought it, planted it, and left it alone.  It was a 'Brandywine' maple tree which is a cross between an 'October Glory' and 'Autumn Flame'.  With parents that good it had to be something special! Almost as soon as I planted it the deer found it.  That's the way it goes around here.  Everything must be sampled by the deer.  Fortunately the following years it has been left alone to grow.  It's still a small tree but beginning to show off its brilliant fall color potential. 'Brandywine' only produces male flowers so you don't get a whole bunch of samaras (maple seeds) helicoptering through the garden and planting themselves in random garden beds.  Personally I wouldn't mind a few maple offspring to plant in a few…

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Plant Propagation Guide

Here is a little guide on various plants that you can propagate in your home garden. I've included the types of propagation where I've been successful (seeds, Layering, Division, Cuttings, etc.).  If I can do it so can you! Propagating Perennials Common NameBotanical NameMethods of Propagation Artemisia 'Powis Castle'Cuttings, Layering MilkweedAsclepias incarnataCuttings, Seeds CatmintNepetaCuttings, Division, Seeds ConeflowerEchinacea purpurea, E. paradoxa, E. augustifoliaCuttings, Division, Seeds HostaDivision, Seeds (may not come true from seed) Russian SagePerovskia atriplicifoliaHardwood and Softwood Cuttings Salvia Salvia nemorosaCuttings, Seeds   Propagating Shrubs and Trees Trees and shrubs can be propagated from a variety of methods.  Always get good, clean, disease free material when taking cuttings. Common NameBotanical NameMethods of Propagation Birch (River)Betula nigraCuttings HydrangeaH. macrophylla, H. serrata Cuttings Hydrangea (Oak Leaf)Hydrangea quercifoliaCuttings, Seeds Japanese MapleAcer palmatumCuttings, Grafting, Seeds Red Twig DogwoodCornus sericea, C. alba Cuttings Viburnum 'Shasta'Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosaCuttings, Layering   Propagating Annuals Common NameBotanical NameMethods of Propagation…

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5 Common (and Native) Trees and Their Leaves

The leaf show hasn't begun in the south just yet so now is a great opportunity to look at some common leaves before the color changes begin! Red Buds (Cercis canadensis) are some of the pretties plants is spring but their foliage is pretty nice too. They have heart shaped leaves with a dark glossy green coat.  There are some varieties of redbud that have purple leaves (like 'Forest Pansy') and others with lighter green foliage. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a colonizing tree with three forms of leaves.  One is a simple lobed leaf, another mitten shaped, and the third has three main lobes.  It turns a beautiful red-orange color in the fall.  Sassafras tends to colonize areas and is one of the first trees to propagate in areas that used to be fields as they change back to forest land. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) have large palmate leaves similar to…

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Splitting Pears (Evidence of Why Bradford Pear Trees Are Junk Trees That Should Not Be Planted)

It's taken a few years before my premonitions came to fruition. It's not that I wanted it to happen I just expected it.  It was inevitable and couldn't be avoided.  The 'Bradford' Pear tree in my front yard split. No storm brought damaging high winds that would wreak havoc among many species of trees. There were no diseases making the tree weak. It was the structure of the tree itself. It was genetically predisposed to split eventually.  Trees like this should not be planted in the landscape yet the builder of our neighborhood put two in every yard.  It's a poor choice to plant but economical for someone wanting a cheap tree that looks impressive for a few years.   Bradford pears look impressive in the spring when their flowers cover the tree.  There isn't a single square inch of canopy uncovered by blossoms. Of course that does lead to…

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Propagating Birch Trees from Softwood Cuttings

Spring means it's time to take some cuttings!  Today I took a few cuttings of a birch tree I'm eventually going to have to remove.  I planted it way too close to our house and it has gotten too large.  I didn't want to lose the tree so I thought I would get a few to root and maybe plant plant one in a better location. For these birch tree cuttings I wanted the green stem tip growth.  I was looking for cuttings that were between 2-4 inches in length and green.  Here are a few pieces I trimmed off initially.  they still have some of the older wood material from the birch tree. I trimmed the greenwood off of the old wood and stripped the leaves off to make cuttings with single leaves.    Then I put the cuttings in a jar of water to stay hydrated while I…

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Some Maple Tree Fall Color

There are few trees that are more colorful in the fall than maples!  The Acer genus really has cornered the market on autumn brilliance.  That's not to say that there aren't other trees just as dazzling but its hard to actually beat maples for the color show this time of year.  The colors they show range from gold to red and every shade in between.  Here's a look at a few maples I took pictures of yesterday. This mature maple off in the distance really stands out long after the hackberries and other early leaf droppers have lost their leaves. This golden orange colored maple was along the back of my mom's property.   A closer look at it's leaves reveals more than just an orange color. This red maple was planted by my dad several years ago.  It's grown quite a bit over the last several years.  Dad planted…

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